Health and safety can differ greatly from country to country.
The EU does have a legal framework in place that outlines the minimum number of regulations that need to be implemented and also provides protection for workers in their employment.
That being said, the data across the EU shows that certain countries are safer than others to work in. Work related injuries cost €476 billion each year across the EU.
With Brexit looming on the horizon, in the blog this week we want to have a look at workplace safety across the European Union and see how different countries measure up.
How Does The UK Fare?
If we take EU member countries as a measurement then the United Kingdom is one of the safest places to work.
It has a rate of 0.51 fatalities per 100,000 employees and only around 1.4% of workers take sick leave due to an accident at work. This rises slightly to 1.9% for employee’s taking sick leave due to a work-related illness and studies consistently show that in the UK, workers don’t believe their job puts them at risk.
So, Britain is deemed a highly safe country to work in but what about the rest of the EU?
The Data From Across Europe
In terms of fatalities at work, France has one of the highest rates at 2.94 per 100,000 employees while Italy and Spain aren’t too far behind at 1.24 and 1.55 respectively.
One of the only EU countries to have a lower sick leave rate due to a workplace accident is Poland at 0.7% however France is again much higher at 3.1%. Spain and Italy both record 1.8%. When it comes to taking time off due to work related health problems then Poland rises sharply to 7.7% with France at 5.4% and Spain 2.8%.
This show us that France has particularly issues with fatality rates and sick leave for workplace accidents and injuries while Italy and Spain don’t generally have the same safe workplaces compared to the UK.
Will Brexit Have An Impact?
Brexit is unlikely to have a major impact on health and safety law in the UK mainly for two reasons.
One is that the 1974 Health and Safety at Work Act is the core piece of legislation that governs our workplace safety in the UK and secondly because many EU directives are now enshrined in UK law and are unlikely to change.
Some things may be altered however when it comes to health and safety Brexit shouldn’t cause the UK’s safety record to plummet.
Health & Safety Across Europe
Different countries have different working conditions and while the EU has implemented a baseline to ensure workers rights and safety, there are clear differences across the continent.
The UK is one of the safest places to work and fatalities across Europe are relatively rare – there were 3739 fatal accidents across the EU according to the most recent annual statistics.
Even so, there is still much to do in other countries to increase workplace safety and employee protection especially if we take the UK as an example.